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Who Are We and What is the SVNHM Philosophy?

Who are we?  A group of adults (some of us OLD adults!) who either haven't played our instruments in years (decades) or never had the opportunity to play in a band or orchestra in our youth.  We range in age from 30s to 80s.  Some people never played before and began an instrument for the very first time with us (what are those little black marks on the paper??), some of us returned to our instruments after a long time away (20 years, 30 years, even 60 years!), some played an instrument, but wanted to start a different one, and some of us really wanted to play an instrument, started taking lessons and found the band after we'd taken a few years of lessons.  Oh, yeah, and some of us are experienced musicians looking for a more relaxed place to play!


Concept and Philosophy: It's simple: "Your best is good enough!"

This is a band or string orchestra that is here to meet the needs of the players, not the other way around. The goal is to have fun making music! Still worried or wondering if it is for you? Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Below is an excerpt from the New Horizons International Music Association webpage

New Horizons Music programs provide entry points to music making for adults, including those with no musical experience at all and also those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a long period. Many adults would like an opportunity to learn music in a group setting similar to that offered in schools, but the last entry point in most cases was elementary school. We know that for most of the last century, about 15-20 percent of high school students nationally participated in music. From that, we can estimate that at least 80 percent of the adult population needs beginning instruction in order to participate in making music. New Horizons Music programs serve that need...

A New Horizons Music program should be inclusive rather than exclusive. Every person has musical potential that can be developed to a level that will be personally rewarding. Many adults have been made to feel unmusical, often by parents or music teachers. It is common at New Horizons informational meetings to hear people say things like "My parents said ‘No one in this family has musical talent, so you’re not going to start music classes.‘" Or, "My music teacher said ‘Move your lips, but don’t make any sound.’" Those scars last a lifetime and the people who carry such memories will need assurance.

The first New Horizons program in 1991 [in Rochester, NY] was a band, but the intent was to also start other kinds of New Horizons programs. New Horizons orchestras started a few years later. The concept and philosophy of New Horizons Music can be applied to many other types of music making and music classes.

Active participation in music fills important needs for adults - the need for challenging intellectual activity, the need to be a contributing member of a group, and the need to have exciting events in the future. For many people, music can serve these vital needs better than anything else. Here is what some participants say:

    • Being old, retired, and widowed, I joined the band to have something to do. Now I don't know what I would do without it.
    • This comes at a time in life when you have the time to devote to it. When you join the band, you stick with it. Not many people drop out. It's something that holds you.
    • Next to my family, certainly, the musical activity is the most important thing in my life.

Many adults want the socialization of group instruction and they want to be part of an ensemble right from the start. Adults participating in such a music program meet new friends and become an important part of a group. They have events to look forward to - concerts to play, concerts to attend, and trips. Such goals give added meaning and purpose to life. Strong friendships are formed in New Horizons programs (and there have been several marriages).

Music is a way of experiencing life. It can be the object of deep contemplation and a way of experiencing a broad range of emotions. It provides an opportunity to experience profound and serious thoughts or joyful moments. It makes connections to the past, the present, and the future. It also connects one to other individuals and other cultures. Making music is a way of making vital connections to life.

Many adults want to make lifestyle changes to improve and sustain good health. There is a growing body of evidence that music making supports good mental and physical health. Gerontologists have long known that socialization is an important factor for good health. The evidence is also strong that the "use it or loose it" principle applies to mental abilities as well as physical abilities. The constant mental challenge of learning music is an ideal form of exercise for our brains. The Music Making and Wellness [] movement is supporting research to investigate the link between active music making and wellness. Early studies indicate that music making can reduce depression and increase the strength of the immune system...

A New Horizons Band or Orchestra is a new kind of Community Band or Orchestra (CBO). Traditional CBOs provide enjoyable musical opportunities for their participants and are important parts of the cultural life of their communities. Nearly all the people who play in them, however, were able to read music and play an instrument before joining. In some CBOs, most participants have music degrees and auditions are required to participate. A New Horizons program does not compete with a traditional CBO. It serves a different function and population. Some people who start in New Horizons programs go on to also join other community bands and orchestras.

New Horizons bands and orchestras become important parts of the cultural life of the community, performing in many different settings and for special events. In addition to formal concerts, performances in shopping malls and summer concerts in parks, they often play for retirement and nursing homes where added events are really needed.

The above is an excerpt from To find out more about New Horizons National Organization, follow the link.

Sound like fun??  We'd love to have you join us!

Like music, but don't want to play?  Consider being a "Band Aide" or "Orchestrator" and helping out at our rehearsals and concerts.

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Sudbury Valley New Horizons Music, Inc. at Wayland Middle School -- 201 Main Street, Wayland, MA